To call a writer clever at journalism is not to praise him. For Ilya Ehrenburg, until recently, there were few even among his admirers who would have claimed much more than that. Yet at the age of seventy he began to write a most extraordinary book of memoirs, the first two installments of which have recently appeared in English under the title People and Life, 1891–1921. (p. 112)
Ehrenburg is not simple; and his memoirs are not personal. They are not, though in the beginning he claims they are, "a confession," but rather an apology, a plea, and a course of instruction. They are didactic (that, too, is a Russian tradition) and they are dramatic….
As a writer, he was...
(The entire section is 1218 words.)